Title:
Package for discs
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A package for a disc with least one section having a first panel and a second panel, where the first panel includes an opening formed substantially as a semi-circle with user access to the center of the disc and one or more embossing lines formed as at least a portion of a semi-circle below said opening, the first panel being fastened to the second panel in an area outside the substantially circular area formed by the opening and the embossed portion to form a pocket for the disc. The embossing lines act to limit insertion of the bottom of a disc into the pocket and the top of the opening forms a shelf for retaining the top of the disc inserted in the pocket.



Inventors:
Caraher, Adam David (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/215001
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
06/24/2008
Assignee:
Tri-Plex Packaging
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/57
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HEDMAN & COSTIGAN, P.C. (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A package for a disc having a circular shape, said disc including a semi-circular top, a semi-circular bottom and a center, comprising at least one section having a first panel and a second panel, the first panel comprising an opening formed substantially as an upper half of a semi-circle with access to the center of the disc and one or more embossed lines formed substantially at the perimeter of a lower half of a semi-circle below said opening, with the opening and the one or more embossed lines forming a substantially circular area, the first panel being fastened to the second panel in an area outside the substantially circular area to create a pocket between the first panel and the second panel within the one or more embossed lines, wherein the one or more embossed lines forms a stop for the semi-circular bottom of a disc inserted into the pocket and the opening forms a shelf for retaining the semi-circular top of the disc inserted into pocket.

2. The package of claim 1 wherein the access to the opening comprises an opening that extends below at least a portion of the center of the disc.

3. The package of claim 1 wherein the access to the opening comprises a center bump out of the opening.

4. The package of claim 1 wherein the one or more embossed lines comprises a semi-circular line substantially from one side of the opening to the other to form the substantially circular area with the opening.

5. The package of claim 4 wherein the one or more embossed lines comprises a plurality of semi-circular line segments or points at the perimeter of the lower half of the semi-circle forming the substantially circular area with the opening.

6. The package of claim 1 wherein the first panel is fastened to the second panel by a fastener taken from the group comprising adhesives, welding, stamping, stapling, riveting, gluing and/or taping.

7. The package of claim 6 wherein the fastener is an adhesive.

8. The package of claim 1 wherein the first panel is formed integral with the second panel at one end and the connection between the first panel and the second panel is a fold line.

9. The package of claim 1 wherein the section includes a third panel comprising an opening formed substantially as an upper half of a semi-circle with access to the center of the disc and one or more embossed lines formed substantially at the perimeter of a lower half of a semi-circle below said opening, with the opening and the one or more embossed lines forming a substantially circular area, the third panel being fastened to the second panel in an area outside the substantially circular area to create a pocket between the third panel and the second panel within the one or more embossed lines, wherein the one or more embossed lines forms a stop for the semi-circular bottom of a disc inserted into the pocket and the opening forms a shelf for retaining the semi-circular top of the disc inserted into pocket.

10. The package of claim 9 wherein the third panel is integral with the first panel at one end and the second panel at the other end, the connection between the third panel and the first panel being a fold line and the connection between the third panel and the second panel being a fold line.

11. The package of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of sections.

12. The package of claim 11 wherein adjacent sections are joined by a hinge.

13. The package of claim 12 wherein the hinge is formed of one or more fold lines between panels of adjacent sections.

14. The package of claim 13 wherein the hinge between adjacent sections is formed of two fold lines between adjacent sections, forming a spine between the fold lines.

15. The package of claim 11 wherein the plurality of sections is three or more sections.

16. The package of claim 11 wherein at least one of the sections includes a third panel comprising an opening formed substantially as an upper half of a semi-circle with access to the center of the disc and one or more embossed lines formed substantially at the perimeter of a lower half of a semi-circle below said opening, with the opening and the one or more embossed lines forming a substantially circular area, the third panel being fastened to the second panel in an area outside the substantially circular area to create a pocket between the third panel and the second panel within the one or more embossed lines, wherein the one or more embossed lines forms a stop for the semi-circular bottom of a disc inserted into the pocket and the opening forms a shelf for retaining the semi-circular top of the disc inserted into pocket.

17. The package of claim 16 further comprising a blank panel adjacent a third panel for an adjacent section where only one disc is to be held.

18. The package of claim 1 wherein the opening in the first panel further comprises a bump out along the semi-circle for a user to engage an edge of the disc for removal from the pocket.

19. The package of claim 9 wherein the opening in the third panel further comprises a bump out along the semi-circle for a user to engage an edge of the disc for removal from the pocket.

20. The package of claim 16 wherein the opening in the third panel further comprises a bump out along the semi-circle for a user to engage an edge of the disc for removal from the pocket.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of packaging, and more particularly to a package for discs in which at least one section of the package includes panels that form a pocket for accepting a disc.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Removable data storage media, including floppy discs and the like, have been used for recording and playing back data such as audio, video and computer related or machine-readable data. Recent advances in technology have dramatically increased their data storage capacity, while reducing their overall physical dimensions and weight. Optical discs are one type of data storage media which utilize optical technology for managing and storing data.

Optical discs are available in several formats including, but not limited to, minidisks, compact discs (“CDs”), digital video discs (“DVDs”) and the like. Their large data storage capacity and compact size have made optical discs highly preferred over other types of data storage media including magnetic recording tape. The performance of these optical discs, however, can be adversely affected by minor distortions in the disc surface cause by abrasions, debris, cracks and the like. Such distortions can cause data loss or degradation in the affected optical disc.

To minimize data loss and physical damage, optical discs are typically packaged in rigid plastic containers or boxes. However, such containers are usually bulky, heavy, and prone to breakage. Other optical disc are packaged in flimsy paper sleeves that provide little or no protection against physical damage from impact or stress, or must be placed into bulky packing made from stiff paper or paperboard in order to reinforce the packaging. Another alternative packaging for optical discs which has become more popular is the cardboard envelope that has three closed and one open side. This alternative provides greater support and protection for the disc retained therein, however, the disc can slip out of the open side. Therefore, many of these require additional panels that fold over to keep the optical disc from slipping out of the envelope.

Accordingly, there is a need for a package that can provide convenient and economical storage and display of discs such as optical data storage media (e.g., CDs, minidisks, DVDs and the like), that can keep the discs from being unintentionally released from the packaging and can be easily formed from a unitary blank, preferably from a rigid, foldable material.

A package that has helped fill this need is shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,759. However, the package described therein utilizes a somewhat complex arrangement with slots and flaps interior to the opening for receiving the discs, requiring a number of cuts and perforations in the blank. Additionally, although the arrangement avoids contact of two opposed discs at the point that the second disc is being inserted, the fully inserted opposed discs can contact each other. Moreover, the discs could be unintentionally released from the package if not handled properly.

There is therefore a further need for a package for packaging and storing one or more discs that is easy and efficient to manufacture, easy to use and friendly to the environment and which has the capability of storing more than one disc, when desired, in a back to back relationship to reduce damage to the discs while improving resistance to unwanted release of the discs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a package for carrying, shipping and/or storing one or more discs. The package of the present invention is simple, convenient and inexpensive to make and use, while providing convenient packaging and display, enhanced disc storing capacity and improved retention of the discs in the packaging to limit unintentional release. The present package may be operatively implemented into compact form for efficient carrying, shipping or storage, or into an open form for providing and attractive display or retrieval of the discs packaged therein. The present package may be conveniently fabricated from a unitary blank composed of a rigid and foldable material such as paperboard. The package of the present inventions is further constructed in a manner that makes it especially suitable for use in consumer packaging.

In keeping, the present invention is directed to a package for a disc which comprises at least one section having a first panel and a second panel, where the first panel comprises an opening formed substantially as a semi-circle with user access to the center of the disc and embossing formed as at least a portion of the perimeter of a semi-circle below said opening. The first panel is fastened to the second panel in an area outside the substantially circular area formed by the opening and the embossing to form a pocket for the disc within the embossed area. The embossing and fastening of the panels act to define the pocket and limit insertion of the bottom of a disc into the pocket while the top of the opening forms a shelf for retaining the top of the disc inserted in the pocket.

The unique feature of the present disc wallet is in how the disc is held in place between the first and second panels of a section. The bottom of the disc is captured between the first and second panels, with the depth of insertion of the disc limited by the embossing on the first panel. Once the disc has been inserted the first time, it bulges out the pocket in the area within the area of the embossing, further defining the area in which the disc is retained and making it easier for the disc to be inserted the next time. The top of the disc fits within the semi-circular portion of the opening, which forms a shelf of the material of the front panel above the cut out of the opening to prevent the disc from easily falling out of the pocket accidentally. Tension created by the adhesive pattern between the panels also aids in keeping the disc in the pocket.

However, the user can intentionally remove the disc with ease, by inserting a finger into the center opening of the disc in the area of the opening providing access to the center of disc. The access to the center of the disc is generally a portion of the substantially semi-circular opening, either as the bottom edge of the opening adapted to cross below the center area of the disc or a lower bump out for the user's finger to engage the center hole in the disc. In its preferred embodiment, the substantially semi-circular opening also includes an upper bump out for the user to engage the outer edge of the disc, such as with the user's thumb, to ease in removal of the disc from the package.

The raw edge of the front panel, in the area of the top of the semi-circular opening, acts as a containment shelf where the edge of the disc falls within the opening when the disc is fully inserted into the pocket. Combination of this feature with the embossed pocket area and adhesive pattern limiting the insertion of the disc to the pocket makes for secure retention of the disc between the first and second panels that is easily removed by the user when desires.

The package of the present invention is preferably fabricated from a unitary blank formed of a rigid, foldable and resilient sheet material including, but not limited, to paperboard with a finished printable surface and “memory” for creating and maintaining the pocket after a disc has been inserted for a first time. The paperboard can be a single or multiple ply board, including recycled paper or plies as known in the art. The most preferred paperboard for use with the present invention is SBS, or solid bleached sulphate, which provides a finished printable surface and has memory.

In its preferred embodiments, the package is formed for retaining multiple discs, and most preferably for holding two, four or six discs, with the package preferably formed in a folded configuration. Of course, the package can be adapted for holding any number of discs, including one to dozens or more, if desired. As such the number of discs to be held by the package of the present invention is considered to be merely a matter of design choice.

It is preferred that when the present invention is designed for a plurality of discs, the sections are operatively engaged with one another. Preferably, the adjacent sections are operatively engaged by means of hinges, most preferably comprising hinges formed of one or more fold lines between adjacent panels that allow adjacent sections to be folded over one another.

When the package of the present invention is designed for multiple discs, it is acceptable for the backs of discs to touch when the discs only contain optical information on one side. In such embodiments, the side of the disc with the optical information is placed against the solid second panel, with the back of the disc showing through the opening. This configuration also provides a benefit in that the printed back of the disc is visible in the opening of the first panel.

In an embodiment where only one disc is provided on one side of a particular section, without a disc on the back of the section, the section can be formed of two panels, where the second panel is preferably folded against and attached to the second panel, forming a pocket therebetween. In an embodiment where multiple discs are found on one section of the panel, one second panel can act as the second panel for two first panels.

This embodiment would require three panels forming one section, with one side of the second panel attached to the first panels and the third panel attached to the other side of the second panel. In this embodiment, the three panels are preferably integrally formed as a single sheet where the first panel is folded so that it can be attached to one side of the second panel and the third panel is folded so that it can be attached to the other side of the second panel. In this way, a pocket is formed on each side of the second panel in a single section.

Of course, enlarging the size of the panels can provide for more than one opening to be formed on each of the first panels. For example, sections that are double tall or double wide can store two discs on one side of each section in an over/under or side by side relationship. Any such configuration is intended to fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The first and second panels can be attached by any suitable means, including adhesives, staples, snaps, Velcro, rivets, pins, catches, or the like. Preferred, however, are adhesives, with permanent adhesives being most preferred. Additionally, two of the sections of the package can be secured, to maintain a multiple disc package in a closed relationship, by a closure. Although the closure can be one such as adhesive tape, which must be destroyed to open the package, a resealable closure is preferred, such as Velcro, snaps, catches, latches, string or the like.

Attachment of the panels requires that all attachment points be outside of the opening and area of the embossing, where the pocket is formed. It is also preferred that minimum resources be used to attach the panels together. As such, it has been found that an attachment arrangement comprising a line of attachment along the top and bottom of the panels and points of attachment at the corners of a square bounding the disc area is suitable to hold the shape of the disc pocket. Of course, other configurations of attachments can be used, with good results, such as the attachment of all areas outside of the disc, however, the efficiency of the materials and manufacturing would be compromised.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood when considered in view of the attached drawings, in which like reference characters indicate like parts. The drawings, however, are presented merely to illustrate the preferred embodiment of the invention without limiting the invention in any manner whatsoever.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the front of a package according to one embodiment of the present invention for holding six discs, shown in a mostly closed configuration.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the package of FIG. 1, shown in a partially open configuration.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the package of FIG. 1, shown in a fully open configuration.

FIG. 4 is an elevation of a blank for forming a package according to an embodiment of the present invention for holding four discs.

FIG. 5 is an elevation of a blank for forming a package according to an embodiment of the present invention for holding six discs, as shown in FIGS. 1-3.

FIG. 6 is an elevation of a blank for forming a package according to an embodiment of the present invention for holding six discs as shown in FIG. 5, with the adhesive configuration for attaching the first and second panels.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a user engaging a disc for removal from a pocket formed as part of the package in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is generally directed to a package which can be used to accommodate one or more discs for convenient shipping, storage and/or display. The package of the present invention is constructed with the advantage of improved durability and enhanced disc holding capacity, while possessing minimal component parts and material. The package of the present invention is adapted to protect the discs stored therein from damage, such as by abrasions, contact with potentially damaging materials and the like. In addition, the package of the present invention may be constructed in a manner which allows the user to manipulate it into a compact form required for convenient storage and/or shipping, or into and open form to provide an attractive display or to enable ready access to the discs contained therein. The cost effective and efficient manner by which these units are constructed and by which the package of the present invention can be used for shipping, storing and/or displaying discs, including optical storage media (e.g., CDs, minidisks, DVDs and the like), makes them especially suitable for consumer use.

The package of the present invention may be configured to include a single section designed to accommodate one or more discs, or with two or more sections connected in a suitable manner by a hinge, etc., to accommodate virtually any number of discs or to create blank surfaces for information, advertisement, entertainment, etc., as desired.

A preferred package 2 made in accordance with the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 1-3 is formed of a plurality of sections 4 for holding one or more discs (not shown). As better seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, each section 4 is formed of two or three panels, including a first panel 6, a second panel 8 and, if discs are intended to be held on both sides of a section 4, a third panel 10.

In the preferred embodiments shown, each section 4 includes a first panel 6 having an opening 12 formed substantially as an upper half of a semi-circle with access 14 to the center of a disc to be held in the section 4 for a user to engage a hole generally found on the center of a disc for removal of the disc from the package 2.

The first panel 6 also includes one or more embossed lines 16 preferably formed substantially along the perimeter of a lower half of a semi-circle below the opening 12, such that the semi-circular opening and the portions of the embossed lines 16 relate to a circular area sized for accepting a disc.

Each section 4 also includes a second panel 8, which is a solid panel that is attached to the back of the first panel 6 to form a pocket 18 between the first panel 6 and the second panel 8, below the opening 12 and within the area formed above the one or more embossed line 16, into which the disc is inserted. The embossed line 16 of the present invention forms a stop at the bottom of the pocket 18 for limiting the travel of the bottom portion of the disc. The semi-circular portion of the opening 12 above the pocket 18, where the first panel 6 is attached to the second panel 8, forms a shelf 20 that keeps the semi-circular edge of the disc within the opening 12 and in the pocket 18 until the user wishes to remove it.

The access 14 to the center of the disc forming a part of the opening 12 can be any size or shape that permits the user to engage at least a portion of the center hole generally formed in a disc, including merely making the semi-circular opening 12 slightly more than half of the circle that corresponds to the disc to be held. In the most preferred embodiment shown, the access 14 is formed as a bump out in the center part of the straight segment of the opening 12 associated with the center of the disc. To further assist in the removal of the disc from the pocket 18, the preferred embodiment also includes an edge bump out 22 on a part of the semi-circular segment of the opening 12 for the user to engage the edge of the disc (see FIG. 7, discussed more fully below).

In the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the package 2 is formed of a single blank of a unitary rigid, foldable sheet material, and preferably a paperboard stock which provides a finished printable surface and has “memory” for creating and maintaining the pocket 18 after a disc has been inserted for a first time. The blank preferably comprises a similar number of first and second panels 6 and 8 to form sections 4 for holding discs. The openings 12 and fold lines 24, 26, 30 and 32 are all preferably stamped or otherwise cut from the blank 28 using conventional blank making techniques known in the art.

FIG. 4 illustrates the preferred embodiment for a four disc package, including four first panels 6 connected at one end to four second panels 8, where the first panels 6 are folded over the second panels 8 along center fold line 24. Once the first and second panels 6 and 8 are folded along center fold line 24 and attached, the package 2 can be formed into about the length and height dimensions of a single section 4 by folding adjacent sections 4 at section fold lines 26.

To create a hinge effect with a finished look at the folds between adjacent sections 4 in the embodiment shown, it is preferred that two section fold lines 26 be formed between adjacent second panels 8 and that material be removed from between adjacent first panels 6 in the blank. In this construction, it is preferred that the width of the material removed between adjacent first panels 6 is slightly larger than the width of the space between adjacent section fold lines 26 so that there is only a single sheet of material at the section fold lines 26. The construction is effective to create a spine 38 between the sections 4 corresponding to the space between adjacent section fold lines 26.

Of course, the width of the spine 38 may differ depending on the number of panels 4 to be contained within the spine 38. For example, if only two sections 4 are contemplated to be encompassed by the spine 38, the spine 38 would comprise a space generally corresponding to the thickness of the two first panels 6 and two second panels 8 forming the package 2, as at the outer section fold lines 26 of FIG. 4. However, when the spine 38 is designed to encompass two series of two sections 4, as in the middle of the four sections 4 of FIG. 4, the spine 38 would be formed with a greater space between adjacent section fold lines 26. The space between the adjacent section fold lines 26 in the middle of the package would be greater to correspond to the thickness of four first panels 6 and 4 second panels 8.

FIG. 5 illustrates a similar preferred embodiment for a six disc package 2, with two blank panels 28 forming the outer covers of the package 2 when the package is in its closed configuration. This embodiment includes four first panels 6 connected at one end to third panels 10 or blank panels 28 along a first center fold line 30, with the third panels 10 or blank panels 28 connected to second panels 8 at the other end along a second center fold line 32. In this embodiment, the first 6, second 8 and third 10 or blank 28 panels are folded along first and second center fold lines 30 and 32 and attached with the second panels 8 residing between the first panels 6 and the third panels 10 and/or blank panels 28. As discussed above with respect to the four disc package 2, adjacent sections 4 can be hinged along section fold lines 26 to create a package 2 with length and height dimensions about that of a single section 4.

The choice of which row of panels are connected by section fold lines 28 and those which have material removed between adjacent panels are not essential to the invention and the selection is considered to be one of design choice. Similarly, the first 4, second 6, third 10 and blank 28 panels, when used, need not be connected or folded in any particular order, e.g. with the ends folded onto one side of the middle panels, as a “Z” configuration, etc., as long as the second panel 8 resides adjacent the first 6 and/or third 10 panels that have openings 12, so as to form pockets 18 therebetween. Additionally, sections 4 with only one opening 12, despite being part of a package containing sections 4 with a third panel 10 for two openings 14, may not need a blank panel 28, although the use of the blank panel 28 is preferred for a uniform feel between all sections 4 of the package 2.

Once the panels are properly configured in relation to one another for forming the sections 4, they can be held together by the use of any suitable fastening or connecting means, including but not limited to, adhesives, tapes, staples, snaps, rivets, Velcro, pins, etc., as known in the art.

Preferably, the panels are held together by adhesives or adhesive strips located outside of the area defined by the opening 12 and the pocket 18. In the most preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 6, adhesive lines 34 are included at the top and bottom of the panels to be adhered. Additionally, adhesive points 36 are preferably placed within four “corners” of a square having dimensions of about the diameter of the disc, again outside the area where the disc resides, including the opening 12 and pocket 18. This adhesive arrangement has been found to be preferred to maintain the integrity of the pocket 18 and to keep the shelf 20 formed at the semi-circular segment of the opening 12 in contact with the second panel 8.

Of course, it is possible to use a single mechanical fastener through the first 6, second 8, third 10 and/or blank 28 panels when packages 2 having sections 4 with two openings 12 are provided, however, the use of adhesives are preferred to yield an integral and relatively rigid and compact structure. Moreover, although the adhesive pattern of FIG. 6 is shown as placed on the first panel 6, it is understood that the adhesive could be applied on the second panels 8 in the areas corresponding to the first panel 6 if desired.

Once complete, the package 2 having hinged sections 4 may be manipulated into an open form (as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3), or into a compact form with adjacent sections 12 folded upon one another (as in FIG. 1). In the compact form, the sections 4 of the package 2 may be folded at the section fold lines 28 to cause the front and rear sides thereof to abuttingly contact one another in juxtaposition to yield a stacked arrangement. The package 2 with the stacked arrangement of sections 4 may thereafter be optionally packaged in a box or a wrap material such as cellophane. It will be understood that the package of the present invention may be folded in any configuration depending in the number of the sections 4 and the construction of the fold lines, which are a matter of design choice.

It is further understood that although the present embodiment of the package 10 is shown having four sections 4 successively connected to one another, the present invention is not limited to such arrangement, and may include other arrangements comprising a single section 4 or two or more sections 4 connected to one another, preferably by a hinge or similar structure that allows the sections 4 to move in relation to one another.

The package 2 provides that discs may be easily inserted, stored and removed therefrom. The disc is inserted by merely placing one edge of the disc within the opening 12 and sliding it into the pocket 18 between the first panel 6, or third panel 10, and the second panel 8 until it reaches the embossed line or lines 16. At this point, the back of the disc is positioned against the second panel 8 and the edge of the disc falls within the shelf created by the edge 20 of the opening 12 of the first 6 or third 10 panel.

FIG. 7 describes how removal of the disc is facilitated by the preferred embodiment shown. When the disc is to be removed from the package 2, the user engages the center opening of the disc at the access 14 of the opening 12 with a thumb or forefinger and engages the edge of the disc in the area of the bump out 22 with the other of the thumb or forefinger. In this way, the user can disengage the disc from the shelf 20 and remove the disc from the pocket 18 through the opening 12.

Optionally, the surfaces of the front 6, rear 8, third 10 or blank 28 panels may be printed or applied with indicia to provide the package 2 with information or merely a visually attractive appearance or display.

The dimensions for the various elements of the present invention will be easily arrived at by one skilled in the art once choices are made on the number of discs to be held on each panel, the amount of space for printing information or decoration, etc.

Additional variations, modifications and alterations to the preferred embodiment of the present invention described above will make themselves apparent to those skilled in the art. All such changes are intended to fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention, limited solely by the appended claims, and all patents referred to herein are hereby incorporated by reference.





 
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